Judge Sets Dates In Lethal Injection Drug Secrecy Case

Oct 12, 2015

Judge Wendell Griffen in a file photo speaking at the state Capitol.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen has set March 1 and 2 as hearing dates to consider the constitutionality of a state law allowing lethal injection drug types to be kept secret.

The plaintiffs in the case argue such secrecy clouds their ability to challenge a potentially cruel and unusual form of punishment. Eight Arkansas inmates currently await execution.

Last week Judge Griffen temporarily halted the first two executions scheduled for October 21.  Griffen is requiring the state to disclose the contents of its drug mixture by that date as part of the discovery or internal review of evidence process in the on-going case. 

Various southern states have been delaying executions because of legal issues with drug secrecy and because of a limited supply of injection drugs.

Many states have opted to keep the manufacturers of drugs anonymous to obtain access to injection drugs from reluctant companies.